You’ve probably heard that it’s wise to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Nowhere is this more true than in the world of online business. With online sales exploding, your brand’s fiercest competitors are not just similar stores down the street. Instead, they could easily be on the other side of the country (or even on the other side of the globe)! All the more reason to keep a close eye on them and compare their moves to your own.
Knowing what your competitors are up to is key to staying ahead of the game and being able to react quickly to changes in the market. In this article we’ll show you how to analyse your online competition and stay up to date in the business world.
Find out who your competitors are
First thing’s first—you need to know who your competition is. Here are some things you can do to figure out what’s happening in your industry:
Obviously, you can begin with a simple Google search using some of your important keywords. Take note of who ranks high in the search results and what makes them stand out—whether it’s organically or paid. You should also google your products. If you get your products from a wholesaler, there’s a good chance other shops offer the same exact products as you do. What prices do they offer? Do they have free shipping? Have they collected star ratings that are shown in their ads?
Use tools to help with your research
Depending on your industry, pages like Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor or Angie’s List can help discover who your local competition is. There are also special tools out there to help you find out who your competitors are. For example, SimilarWeb offers some great competitor analysis tools. The most basic one is competitor identification. Simply enter the name of your website and they’ll provide you with a list of similar companies.
Once you know who your main competitors are, online tools like Google Trends help you track how popular certain keywords are over time. For example, enter in your competitor’s name and see how popular this search term has been in the past 6 months. This could show you how they’re doing and if they have increased their marketing budgets lately. If that’s the case, it might time for you to do the same. Tools like Buzzsumo help you track where you or your competitors are being mentioned across the internet, so you can see what is being said about them online.
Stay up-to-date with the right media
Make sure you also find journals, magazines, and other industry reading material to see what your competition is up to. This can provide great insights into their future plans and their reputation. Sure, this will inform you about what the big players are doing, but if the material is very industry specific, some smaller start-ups will also be featured. You should also try to find some industry-specific blogs to provide more insights as well. Certain forums and pages like Reddit (and their sub-reddits) could provide lots of information, tips, and tricks being shared by industry experts and other business owners.
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